Back to the future: an old Californian race track gets a contemporary makeover

Race Track in California
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The Santa Anita Race Track in California has always been the place to go to enjoy some of the area's most important events on the racing calendar. Now, thanks to a facelift from Los Angeles-based architects Studio Antares, this 80-year old sports facility is starting to make its mark in the world of architecture and design too.

Studio Antares was faced with the challenge of renovating the club suites of the 1934-built race track to create vibrant, contemporary spaces, where the track's long tradition and history might still be appreciated. 

The 400-foot long row of renovated suites perches above the original grand stands and each space has been transformed into a sleek, multifunctional haven, offering spectacular views of both the track and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. Traditional materials such as the dark wooden floors, leather seats and large black-and-white photo-murals nod to the space's history, while the use of bright colours, metal panelling and smooth concrete spur it on towards a modern future. 

Thanks to retractable glass partitions, spectators are thrust headfirst into the excitement of the track, while the varying floor and ceiling heights offer the upholstered benches at the back of the box a comfortable view of the race below. Pavel Getov of Studio Antares explains that due to the social nature of the races, 'the suites are designed as relaxed spaces, more like a lounge or living room.'  

'The design goal was to create an environment where new and old coexist and complement each other' says Getov. By interweaving the Race Track's past with its future, the architects have created an energetic and engaging space, bringing the excitement back to the track.

view of the race track

Varying floor and ceiling heights and a retractable partition ensure unobstructed views of the races and bring the spectators closer to the excitement of the track

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Race track

The glass partition can easily be closed to create a more private space for guests to socialise

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Sofa and chairs

The architects wanted to create a relaxed feel to the suites using comfortable, upholstered banquettes

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View of race track

The suites boast spectacular views of both the track and the mountain range in the distance

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photo-mural and couch

Each suite is decorated with a unique photo-mural, which depicts important moments from the history of the track

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leather seats and wooden flooring

Smooth concrete and profiled metal panels contrast the more traditional leather seats and wooden flooring

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saffron-coloured benches

The saffron-coloured benches are reminiscent of the leather tack gear used at the races, bringing the tradition of the track into the club suites

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The colour and number of each suite corresponds to the saddle towel number on the photo-murals

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